It had taken the police six days to reach the Dalmia door following the ‘cable’ death of 26-year-old Amit. And it’s taken the government a fortnight to initiate the first steps towards ensuring that there is no repeat of the incident that saw the young businessman being pierced to death by a Reliance Infocomm cable on Camac Street.
The government on Tuesday announced its decision to conduct a random survey of 10 spots in different parts of the city where the private telecom company had laid optic-fibre cables for a year as part of its operations to wire up the country.
After a day-long meeting with mayor Subrata Mukherjee and senior Reliance executives, urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya said the objective of the survey was to ascertain whether Reliance had complied with the recommended safety norms while laying the cables, complete with embedded metal strips as protective covering.
“We have received complaints that Reliance had not restored the roads after cutting them and burying the cables. In many parts of the city, the metal covering is said to have come undone. I have asked our civic authorities to identify the spots. We have made it clear to Reliance officials that the roads will have to be restored properly, because we don’t want another tragic death to occur,’’ Bhattacharya said.
The minister said a team, comprising officials of the traffic police, Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) and the CMDA, would check whether Reliance had restored the roads and maintained safety norms.
The company was supposed to dig six inches deep to lay the cables, so that the steel plate or rubber or the cable wire did not come off.
“If the norms were not maintained, the company will have to rectify the matter immediately,’’ Bhattacharya asserted.
That apart, Reliance has been asked to submit its project drawings to agencies like the CMDA, CESC, the CMC and BSNL, so that the underground power lines or waterlines are not disturbed when the cables are laid.
Reliance has laid nearly 700 km of optic-fibre cables in the city. Neither the government nor the CMC had shown any interest in monitoring the quality of road restoration till Amit’s death on Camac Street on May 12. A metal strip covering a Reliance cable had snapped off the road surface. It lay unrepaired for days, until Amit drove over it. The strip pierced the undercarriage of his car and ripped through his body, killing him.
Vishal, Amit’s elder brother, meanwhile has threatened to sue Reliance once the high court opens on June 9.